English Premier League


What: Alexis Sanchez leaves Arsenal for Manchester United instead of Manchester City.
Why it matters: For better or worse, Sanchez’s contract with Manchester United places him near the top of football world’s highest earners.

Sanchez Chooses United


After months of speculation that go back to the start of the summer transfer window Chile international, Alexis Sanchez, has finally left Arsenal Football Club. But not for Manchester City, the club who once valued him at £60 million during summer negotiations.  Instead Sanchez signed a mega deal with City’s rivals Manchester United. Sanchez to City was all anyone could talk about in summer. It wasn’t a question of ‘was it going to happen?’ Rather it was one of ‘when was it going to happen?’ And when it didn’t happen in the summer, it was assumed City would just go back in for their man in the winter. They did, this time valuing the Chilean at £20 million due to the time left on his current contract and unwillingness to be an Arsenal player. United also valued Sanchez at £20 million. So why the Red Devils over the Citizens? Simply put, United’s £20 million meant a whole lot more than City’s.


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What One Sanchez Costs


The details of Sanchez’s contract are staggering to say the least: The Chilean forward will earn a £350,000-a-week wage plus an extra £100,000 a week for image rights over the course of a four-and-a-half-year contract.  He will also receive £7.5 million a year for four years as a signing-on fee. In addition to paying £20 million for Sanchez, United also gave the unwanted Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Arsenal. Lastly, United paid £15 million to Sanchez’s agent Fernando Felicevich.


Sanchez’s contract makes him the highest paid player in the English Premier League. His wages soar high above United legend Wayne Rooney, who was on £300,000 pounds before he returned back to boyhood club Everton this past summer. Unprecedented in the Premier League, Sanchez’s wages are similar to the salaries of players in Spain’s La Liga, or the Chinese Super League. The next highest paid player in the EPL is United’s Paul Pogba who is on £290,000 a week. Sanchez will be making more than five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.


The Possible Impact of This Move


While the contract is fantastic for Sanchez, especially at his age, it could be a little unsettling for his new teammates and other players in the league. Sanchez had his best season in the league last year scoring 24 goals for Arsenal. Yet we are halfway through this season, and he has only netted seven times. His wages are bound to have a ripple effect on players who feel they are performing as well or better than Sanchez. City’s manager, Pep Guardiola stated City pulled out of the deal in order to preserve the “stability of the club.”


Sanchez has firmly held that his decision to go to United was not one motivated by money, but an attempt to make a dream come true. There is no question that he will have that opportunity. However, can he do it under the massive amount of pressure his new contract has put on him?


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What: January transfer window is currently underway.
Why it matters: This window is utilized by all leagues, but the English Premier League continues to outspend other leagues despite irregular results.

The clock striking 12:00 AM on January 1st means the start of a new year. It is also the start of what many like to call “silly season” in the football world. The start of the January transfer window, a staple that has officially been around since 2003, leaves much to be desired. In these 31 days, clubs will either be looking to make moves or hold on to players in that same amount of time. But just how effective are these signings and who utilizes this period the most?

EPL, Miles Ahead of the Rest

In comparison to others during this time of the year, the English Premier League outspends other leagues. A major reason for this is the television deal that the 20 premier league teams signed with broadcasters back in 2016. The deal was worth £10.4B and stands as the most lucrative TV deal ever signed in pro football. The higher the finish for a club in the English top flight, the larger the prize money at the end of the season. The first January transfer window in 2003 saw the league spend about £45.7M. Last year the league spent £218.5M.

We are halfway through January and unsurprisingly it is an English club making the most noise this window. Liverpool signed Virgil Van Dijk, formally of Southampton, for a record setting £75M. The fee made him the most expensive central defender in world football. Shortly after this, Liverpool sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £120M making him the second most expensive transfer after compatriot Neymar. Alexis Sanchez’s transfer from Arsenal to one of the Manchester clubs is the next hotly anticipated lucrative deal to happen in the coming days.

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Does Position Determine Utilization?

Despite the spending that has taken place in this transfer window by the usual top six clubs in the EPL (Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool) a look back at history suggests that these clubs rarely spend during this time. Especially those in the number one spot after the Christmas period. The BBC reported that at the end of 2017 January transfer window the top six collectively only spent £40,000. Match of the Day pundit, Danny Murphy, wasn’t surprised by this saying:

Well-run clubs are not going to sign players for the sake of it. They will only do it if they can improve the team.

In contrast to the bottom half of the table, those closer to relegation are in a mad dash to make signings that will turn their season around and save them from the drop into England’s second tier of football, the Championship. Spending no money for clubs in these positions usually suggests relegation as was the case with Aston Villa during the 2015-2016 season and QPR the year before that. Yet signing a great amount of players can also lead to relegation. This was evidenced when last year Hull City brought on a record setting 10 players and were still relegated.


Its hard to tell if this period is actually effective in carrying out what clubs hope to accomplish at the end of each season. The results are so sporadic. Unless a player like Coutinho is available, top seeded clubs rarely utilize this window for buying players. And clubs in the bottom half, would be wise to strategically use this time to turn things around, otherwise it could prove costly. Former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson said it best: “The January transfer window is a difficult window to operate in.” He would know having helped Leicester escape relegation the 2014-2015 season.

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What: With the tender for the 2019-2022 Premier League rights to go out this month, Netflix was thought to be amongst one of the challengers to traditional broadcasters. Instead it has opted out the bidding.
Why it matters: Not only is this one less challenger for traditional broadcasters to worry about, but it is also one less challenger for Amazon and Facebook to worry about.

A New Frontier?

This season of the National Football League has not only seen Thursday night football games broadcast on the NFL Network, but also on Amazon. The games, available to Prime membership customers, offer a glimpse into the next steps major streaming companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook, are attempting to take as they look to expand their empires. Now they are looking to make a move on English football. Several months ago it was reported that among others, the aforementioned three would be in the bidding process for the 2019-2022 Premier League rights when they came out. However, with the rights set to be released sometime this month, Netflix has decided not to pursue the chance to broadcast English’s topflight football. Why? Simply put: it’s not Netflix’s style.

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If Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

Netflix, one the most notable streaming services, has decided to stick to what it does best and this does not include live sports. It will instead focus its sports operation on original programming rather then live events. Early this past October, the streaming giant secured a deal with Serie A giants and reigning champions Juventus to produce a documentary on the club. The collaboration between Netflix and Juventus will provide viewers around the world with a behind the scenes look of the club during training sessions, preseasons, games and personal stories of the players. Commenting on the partnership with Juventus Erik Barmack, vice president of international original series at Netflix, stated: “Netflix is the home of passionate storytelling, and there are no more passionate fans than those of the Bianconeri.”

“We are excited to have unique, exclusive access to one of the most important squads in the world”

A Sure Thing

Netflix’s deal with Juventus and subsequent withdrawal from the Premier League bidding rights shouldn’t be looked as weakness on Netflix part. Rather, Netflix could be praised for taking on an old directive and shedding new light upon it. Sport documentaries like the one Juventus will have with Netlifx are wildly popular as evidenced by the NFL’s successful look into life in the NFL with Hard Knocks. Additionally, Fox Sports produced a similar documentary mini-series back in 2012 with English football club, Liverpool FC. The series title ‘Being: Liverpool’ was generally received well by fans and critics alike. Netflix is looking to recreate that same exposure with Juventus using the same directives that has grown its business in the first place: storytelling. Netflix is the number one streaming service because of its original programming and adding live sports broadcasting, it feels, seems unnecessary and a deviation to its style of television.

“We want to provide the best video storytelling across all genres, but it won’t encompass live sports broadcasting”

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In this regular feature we look at the most watched soccer matches in the U.S. over the past weekend, the networks that came out on top and other relevant insights.

Which match had the largest audience?

The most watched match was the match played between Stoke City and Chelsea, at the 29th round of the English Premier League, it was viewed by  an audience of 519,000 last Saturday.

Which broadcaster came out on top?

NBC Sports Network was the most watched sports network. The network broadcast’s English Premier League matches and had almost 2 million viewers. The second most watched network was BeInSports with approximately 770,000 viewers. BeinSports broadcast’s Spain’s popular La Liga.

What else is relevant?

Two Liga MX matches made it into the top 10. These matches were broadcast by Univision Deportes. Both matches, Tigres vs Cruz Azul and Puebla vs Monarcas, had a combined audience of 655,000 viewers.

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#ProgramEpisodeNetworkStartEndTotal Viewers (000)Viewers Age 18-49 (000)Day of the game

Source: SportsTVRatings.com (“All data ©Nielsen, provided by a variety of TV network sources and not directly from Nielsen”)